Last Tuesday night, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi had a massive premiere in front of 30,000 adoring fans at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, the massive facility that’s the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and hosted the first College Football National Championship last year. Director Michael Bay, the cast and real-life security contractors Mark “Oz” Geist, Kris “Tanto” Paronto & John “Tig” Tiegen were supported by musical performances from Madison Rising (“American’s Most Patriotic Rock Band”), rising country stars the Band Perry and former Soundgarden lead singer Chris Cornell.
The movie got some strikingly positive reviews from film critics who admitted they were dubious of any picture with the word “Benghazi” in the title. Many writers noted how surprisingly non-political it was and how Bay’s action chops highlighted the story of six security contractors who risked their lives in an impossible situation.
Things looked positive heading into last weekend.
And then…the movie only made $16 million on a winter weekend that had seen huge launches for other military movies. American Sniper‘s massive 2015 opening ($107 million) may be in a class all its own, but 13 Hours also made less than half than what Zero Dark Thirty made in 2013 ($33 million) and Lone Survivor made in 2014 ($38 million).
Have you seen 13 Hours yet? How does it compare to the other military-themed hit movies of the last few years? Did the fact that it’s a film about veteran security contractors and not active-duty warfighters make a difference? This is a good movie. We’re at a loss to explain its slow start at the box office. Share your ideas and theories below. Sound off!